Let’s talk about hockey. NHL organizations all over North America have a variety of different strategies they use to identify player opportunity on a given team. Primarily, this breaks down into “numbers guys” and “eyes guys”. We’re talking about Analysts who pour over every stat of every player over the course of multiple seasons. We're also talking about the scouts and coaches who dedicate ungodly amounts of man hours to travel, watch and experience players first hand. Both groups of people represent the most passionate individuals in all of the executive NHL. The only problem is, that they both think that their method of thinking is the “correct” or “better” one.

Steve Simmons, the sports editor for the Toronto SUN recently wrote, “This has not been the summer of analytics in hockey. This has been the summer of an escalating tug of war between the old school thinkers and the numbers zealots.” He speaks to the fact that one of his NHL executive sources recently told him that he really has no time for anyone telling him that there should only be one way of thinking. To quote his source, “The game is changing, evolving. The more information you have the better prepared you will be… There’s no one way of doing things anymore. The principles of success remain the same as they’ve always been. There are just more ways of looking at things now." But what does that have to do with groceries?


The truth is, the same can be said for CPG. We live in a world filled with data. As a consumer, you’d be naive to assume that anything but EVERYTHING about you is being collected and analyzed by someone, somewhere. As a business, you’d be equally as naive to think that any one type of data is all you need to be successful. Think of the customer journey for a moment. A shopper comes into the store, quickly grabs a jug of laundry detergent, slowly and carefully browses the specialty cheeses, picks up a 2-Liter of Coke, but puts it back on the shelf then grabs something else instead, and finally, at the very last minute, decides to purchase a candy bar at the check out aisle. There were a lot of purchase decisions that happened in that trip and all of them were driven by something different. But the only thing scan data is going to show is that all of the items are eventually purchased. It won’t show why or what type of decision making process was involved. Here's our take on it.


We think about it like this: If you’re collecting the numbers on what shoppers are buying, you probably think you have enough information to make informed decisions on how to best market to the shopper. You have an idea of what categories you should innovate in for the upcoming year. But what if we told you that numbers are only half the picture. Think of it like the hockey example. You’ve got the raw data, but what about the intuition that comes with looking at the mind of a shopper? You need to analyze how they think, not just what they bought, and apply THAT knowledge to a shopper marketing strategy. You can’t do all that without numbers, so both have to work together. That’s why we believe in what we’re doing for CPG manufactures and retailers all over the world. We’re taking the two most valuable aspects of shopper marketing, data and insights, and combining them into total solutions that genuinely give our clients the upper hand in business. Let's tie this up in a nice neat bow.


Coaches, scouts and analysts all play critical and time intensive roles in making sure that their hockey club is at peak performance come time to hit the ice. Why shouldn’t business owners treat their companies the same way? It is their livelihood after all. Come on, we’re all Canadian here, let’s make our businesses more like the only sport that matters and really slap one home for success. You with us? Check out our website for more information including how to make sure you’re ready for the “regular season" to start. Also be sure to subscribe to our blog to get the latest updates on all things Shopper Intelligence.


See ya next time!


by Tyler Erickson

Digital Marketing Manager, Shopper Intelligence Canada

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